Objects old, vintage, hand made or upcyled, and old techniques with a modern twist

Archive for the ‘DIY’ Category

Small Storage DIY

Small, plain wooden trays are often used as packaging for small items such as tealight candles or craft items, and are useful for organising small items. The trays are very plain, and sometimes only roughly finished, but it is quick and easy to turn them into decorative and useful drawer or desk-top organisers.

PLAIN-WOODEN-BOXES

First use some sandpaper to smooth off any rough edges. I simply decorated these trays by cutting felt inserts to sit in the bottom of each compartment- this is a useful project for using up fabric odds and ends.

WOODEN-BOX-INSERTS

The compartments were measured, and squares of different coloured felt cut out and fixed into the bottom of each compartment using a small amount of glue.

The trays could alternatively be lined using leather or decorative papers, or be decorated using paint. I have these trays in the bottom of a shallow drawer in my jewellery bench, and they are perfect for holding jewellery making materials and semi-finished items.

FELT-LINED-TRAYS

Weaving Patterns

I have been playing around with the small loom I have previously used to make scarves and cowls, experimenting with different textures and techniques.

yarn-weaving

I decided to weave several small sample pieces (approximately 8 x 13 cm / 3.5 x 5 inches), experimenting with different patterns and ideas for each piece. The width of the loom allows for two sample squares to be woven at once (which was a little fiddly), or the piece can be woven using only half the width of the loom.

The individual tapestries are great quick projects, and a good way to use up any pieces of yarn left over from other makes. I plan to make a few more small tapestries, and then combine them in a project to be shown in a future post…

Simple Storage Box DIY

To start the new year as I mean to go on, I have been having a tidy up of any bits and bobs that seem to be without a proper home. I needed a box to store some papers and photographs (a kind of memory box), but didn’t want to pay the kind of price required to purchase a nice decorative one! I found a brown cardboard box of perfect proportions at the local bargain shop, and decorated it myself using (imitation) gold leaf to make rustic-looking polka dots.

I drew circles in pencil onto the box as a guide (I drew around the base of a small plastic pot), and then glued torn up pieces of gold leaf in place (they were leftover pieces from other projects). For a super simple DIY project, I am pleased with the outcome: decorative storage at a bargain price! I like storage to be attractive as well as useful (you do have to look at it after all), and this technique could be applied to boxes of any size or shape, and would also be a nice way to make decorative gift boxes.

For a few other storage ideas please see these posts:

gold-dot-box

Friendship Bracelets/Knotted Weaving

I haven’t made a friendship bracelet since I was at school, but decided to experiment with the method as I have plenty of embroidery thread in lovely colours.

As you can see, I experimented with a few different colour combinations and patterns. The free-form pattern below I made up as I went along, experimenting with changing direction.

I wanted to use the finished piece as something other than a bracelet, so decided to make a short length to use as a zipper pull on a jumper.

As I had cut longer strands of thread than I required for the pull, I left a gap and then knotted a second section below the first to use in another project.

KNOTTED-BRACELET

I trimmed the ends and cut the top section free from the bottom section.

CHEVRON-PATTERN

The top section became the zipper pull, with the loop used to thread it through the metal ring on the zipper.

This was a good way to use up some of the odds and ends of thread that I had in my stash: now I have to decide on projects for the other pieces that I made…:-)

MULTICOLOURED-BRACELETS

If you fancy having a go for yourself (and didn’t learn how to make these as a child) then there are plenty of helpful guides and how-to videos to be found online.

Tassel Garland

This is a quick DIY project, ideal as a decoration for summer parties. It is also a great stash-busting project as small pieces of leftover yarn from other projects can be used.

MATERIALS:

Darning/tapestry needle

Yarn in various colours

Scissors

YARN-RAINBOW

First choose your colours. The tassels can be made in any size of your choice, for this garland I made 10 the same size, and one larger one for the centre of the garland. In order for the tassels to be the same length the yarn can be measured out by wrapping it around a piece of cardboard, or another flat object. The thickness of the tassel is dependent on how many strands it contains (therefore how many times it is wrapped around the card).

YARN-TASSEL-DIY

Tie the bunch of yarn together in the centre, and fold in half.

Next, using the tail of yarn from tying the tassel together, wrap yarn tightly around the top quarter/third of the tassel and tie off. Cut the tails of your tassel to make them even and to open up the closed loops.

Finally thread a large-eyed darning or tapestry needle with your stringing material (yarn, ribbon, cord etc), and pass it through each of the tassels. The top of the tassels should have been wound tightly enough that they remain where you place them on the string.

COLOURED-TASSELS

Et voila, one finished garland to be hung where you desire!

YARN-TASSELS

Easy DIY Project: Making Mittens from Socks

GLOVES-FROM-SOCKS

After accidentally slightly shrinking some wool socks in the wash, I thought I’d give them a new life as a pair of fingerless mittens.

This easy upcycling project would also work using the sleeves from a wool jumper.STRIPY-SOCKS

All you need is a pair of wool socks (or a pair of jumper sleeves), a needle and thread, and a pair of scissors.

First cut your socks to the desired size- you will be using the leg section, not the foot section.

UPCYCLING-SOCKS

I thought I’d take advantage of the length of these socks, and make cosy mittens with a long wrist/arm section- they can be worn long, or bunched up at the wrist. The original cuff of the socks will form the cuff of the mittens.

Next, using your hand as a template, cut a small horizontal slit where you would like the thumb hole to be.

FINGERLESS-MITTEN-DIY

Now try the mitten on, and enlarge the thumb slit if necessary. Decide how long you want the hand section to be and trim accordingly, allowing approximately 1cm extra to turn under for the hem. Take the mitten off, and sew the turned-under hem in place.

STRIPY-MITTENS

At this stage you could just hem the thumb hole using a blanket stitch, but I chose to add a thumb section using a piece cut from the foot of the socks. I sewed a small tube that comfortably fit my thumb, and then attached the tube to the mitten.

HANDMADE MITTENS

Now the mittens are ready to be worn… probably ensuring the swift arrival of warm spring weather!

FINGERLESS-MITTENS

MITTENS-MADE-FROM-SOCKS

Easter Egg Decorations

GOLD-CRACKLE-EGGS

I love Easter, and most years make some new egg decorations to hang from a vase of white-painted branches. I love the fact that Easter means that spring has arrived, and the world (in England) starts to get a little more colourful again as flowers and leaves start to appear.

EASTER-DECORATIONS

This is an easy DIY project that doesn’t require many materials, and as each one is unique you don’t have to be too precise when making them either!

MATERIALS:

  • Plain Easter egg decorations with a smooth surface (I used un-glazed ceramic ones)
  • Imitation gold leaf (or the real thing if you’re feeling decadent!)
  • A pair of tweezers
  • A paint brush
  • Acrylic paint
  • PVA glue

   DECORATED-EGGS-DIY

First paint your eggs in the colour(s) of your choice. Acrylic paint works well as it dries quickly and has a surface that the PVA glue can adhere to.

CERAMIC-EGGS

Next tear or cut your (imitation) gold leaf into small pieces- the leaf is thin so should be easy to tear by hand.

Next dilute some PVA glue with water (I used a solution that was approximately 25% PVA and 75% water). Covering a small area at a time, paint some of the watered-down glue onto the egg, and then using tweezers (as the gold leaf is fiddly and delicate to handle) apply a piece of gold leaf to the surface: repeat as required.

When you have finished applying the gold leaf, give the whole egg a thin coating of the watered-down glue, and leave to dry thoroughly. The diluted PVA solution didn’t tarnish the leaf that I used, or dull it’s reflectiveness.

GOLD-AND-PAINTED-EGGS

TIPS:

If you want to cut the leaf with scissors to get straight edges, then it is easiest to do this whilst the sheet of leaf is still between two of the tissue paper pages that it comes packaged in. As the leaf is metal, beware that it will dull your blades a little.

If your pieces of gold leaf are too large, then you will find that they tend to be difficult to place flat on the egg, as they are difficult to control with the tweezers. I found pieces larger than approximately 2 x 1.5cm difficult to work with, although this will vary depending on the thickness of the leaf that you are using.

HAPPY MAKING AND

HAPPY EASTER!

GOLD-FOILED-EGGS

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